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Restoring Hardwood Floors What Treasure Lurks Beneath Your Carpet?

During the 60s and 70s, carpeted flooring became all the rage and many good quality hardwood floors were covered up.  With this in mind, many home owners are beginning to realize that they may just have a great treasure hidden under that old carpet. 

If you’re lucky enough to find an old hardwood floor under you carpet or linoleum, you may be pleased to know that chances are the hardwood will be of the highest quality.  Older hardwood floors were often manufactured using old growth timber.  Old growth timber floors have a much tighter grain pattern, a very pleasing characteristic. 

How to Find Out What’s Under Your Old Carpet

There is only way to reveal what’s under your carpet, and that’s to pull the carpet back.  Using a pair of pliers, grab a corner of the carpet to reveal what’s beneath.  Unless the carpet is glued down this should be quite easy.  With any luck you should find what you’re looking for.  You shouldn’t need to pull the carpet too far back before you can tell.

Can Your Newly Found Hardwood Floor Be Restored?

Hardwood Flooring Wear LayerIn some cases the hardwood floor may be too badly worn or have been refinished so many times that is not suitable for restoration.  This could have been the reason that a carpet was laid over the top of it in the first place.  To check how the floor is fairing, take a look at the wear layer that is left on the floor itself.  In the Diagram below, the wear layer is the visible layer (dark brown) that is attached to the fitting components (the tongue and groove).  If the wear layer is nearly all worn away then you should replace the carpet or have a new hardwood floor installed. 

Removing Carpet from Hardwood Floors

When removing carpet from an old hardwood floor, you may find a number of things that need to be removed.  Carpet padding is often found attached with hundreds of staples which can be removed using a flat head screw driver or the back of a hammer.  Adhesives that have been used to attach the carpet can be removed firstly by scraping or chipping it with a scraper and then applying an all-purpose adhesive remover. 
Once all remnants of the adhesive, tacks, and staples have been removed you can then proceed to sand the floor and apply a finish. 

Please click here for information on finishing hard wood floors.

Removing Linoleum from Hardwood Floors

In some cases linoleum is used to cover hardwood floors.  Removing linoleum from a hardwood floor can be a difficult task.  Before you get started however, you should be aware that many vinyl floor tiles that were manufactured before 1986 have been know to contain asbestos.  It is important that you have this checked out by calling the linoleum manufacturer and if required, have a professional asbestos removal contractor have the material removed. 

If you believe there is no asbestos, then start by pulling the linoleum off by hand.  Once you have removed all of the linoleum you need to start removing the adhesive with a scraper and mineral turpentine.  Be careful not to damage the hardwood when doing this.  If you’re having trouble removing it effectively using this method, then you can try using a heat gun to soften up the adhesive.  Once most of the adhesive is removed you can begin sanding the floors.  This should remove the finer adhesive residue. 


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